One of the longstanding uses for coins and medals is to commemorate transformative or otherwise noteworthy events. What better way could there be to immortalize an important milestone or historic moment?
Of course, this is provided the moment being commemorated actually exists.
No government agency worth its salt would commission a coin to commemorate an unverified or outright fake historical account. The loss of credibility would be swift. For instance, we have zero doubt that World War I was an actual event. The veterans who courageously served in that conflict were also very real, and deserving of homage.
One of the strangest related mistakes a mint can make is choosing a commemorative coin design that prematurely honors something that hasn't even happened yet.
Yet this is precisely what has happened in the U.S.—and is now happening in Singapore, too.
By all indications, the planned (and subsequently canceled) summit between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un is once again "a go." However, the scheduled event has followed an on-again-off-again, will-it-or-won't-it dynamic as the June 12th date has neared.
The U.S. government got ahead of itself by selling an intricate challenge coin in the White House gift shop that extolled the first-ever meeting between the North Korean and American heads of state.
At any rate, aside from this uncertainty, there is one crucial fact that these governments seem to be ignoring: The summit still hasn't happened yet!
The risk for embarrassment here seems fairly high, and the worst part is that it's totally avoidable.
Although the meeting between Trump and Kim is apparently back on track (for now), there is always the chance that negotiations with North Korea go south again. If the past is any guide, such a collapse in talks between the two sides is sadly more likely than not.
Nonetheless, surely eager to burnish its reputation as the site of the summit, Singapore's national mint has followed the example of Washington and is issuing its own commemorative medallions (pictured, above), according to reporting by Fox News.
The design, showing the flags of the two countries behind the image of a handshake, is being struck in gold, silver, and base-metal medallions.
The silver medallion is limited to a mintage of 15,000 pieces while only 3,000 of the gold version will be minted worldwide. The zinc-based coin will be produced without any limits. However, the medallions can only be purchased in person in Singapore.
There will certainly be collector interest for the pieces, especially with the possibility of infamy or irony if diplomatic efforts indeed fall short.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.
Everett has been the head content writer and market analyst at Gainesville Coins since 2013. He has a background in History and is deeply interested in how gold and silver have historically fit into the financial system.